One of the phrases people use here in summer, when the mercury is soaring, is a cheery “Hot enough for you?” I’m on record as living here despite the summer heat, not because of it, but the recent days of frigid weather have taxed even my capacity for cooler temperatures. I wore a toque, for the first time in many years, and quickly realized that while some people can really rock that look (here’s to you, Tyrone Laskey!), I’m not one of them.
I’ve read dozens of books about polar exploration over the years, as well as books about Mt. Everest and the Titanic, and as you might imagine, balmy weather is not a recurring theme in any of them. Indeed, considering I am not a health care professional, I know far more about frostbite than is probably good for me. However, the cold weather we’re currently enduring has given me even more empathy for people like the doomed members of the Franklin Expedition than I had before, and I have gone from wondering how so many of them managed to survive to admiration that so many of them managed to survive for so long.
I don’t have an automatic starter on my vehicle, and the other morning I made the mistake of going outside without a coat to start the engine so that it would warm up a titch before I had to get into it. I was outside for 20 seconds tops, but still couldn’t get back into the house fast enough. At least I now know that a career as a polar explorer is well and truly out of the picture for me (not that it was ever in the picture, but it’s always nice to get confirmation).
Speaking of career changes, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — aka Harry and Meghan — have certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest, haven’t they? The British tabloids — which have probably played a large part in the couple’s decision to want to step back (from being incessantly in the public eye) and step out (of the country) — seem not quite to know how they should feel about this.
On the one hand, they seem to despise Meghan, and have been relentless in their criticism and persecution of her, so you’d think they’d be pleased that they’ve been successful in getting rid of her. On the other hand, it seems to be coming home to them that if the Duke and Duchess decamp to the Dominion, they won’t have Meghan to kick around anymore.
For the tabloids, therefore, it might well be a case of “Be careful what you wish for.” For the royal couple it might well be an escape to a better life outside the fishbowl that Harry has lived in all his life, which to his wife probably looks more like a prison cell. As for Canadians, who might well find the pair living in our midst: if you’re in line with them at Costco, and one of them happens to bump into you, remember to apologize. It’s the Canadian thing to do.
When it comes to Canadian things to do, watching or playing hockey is near the top of the list, and last weekend’s first responders charity hockey match was calculated to appeal to people who think a crease is something on a pair of trousers. The humour, camaraderie, and good-natured rivalry on the ice was equalled by the mood of the 400 people at Drylands Arena, who quickly entered into the spirit of the event and cheered every goal and save, and laughed along with the antics of the players.
It was a wonderful example of what people in small communities do so well: come together to celebrate, have fun, and support a great cause. I was a bit taken aback by how cold the arena was (Sue Peters took pity on me and loaned me her scarf), but that was before the deep freeze really hit. As I get ready to head out to my car, the arena is looking close to toasty. You really don’t know what you’got ‘til it’s gone.